Alright, so if we want to keep acne at bay, and also have a beautiful, healthy looking complexion, we want the following:
- Skin that is balanced in oil – ie. not too dry or too oily
- Skin that is properly hydrated – ie. contains plenty of water
Skin that is too dry can tighten pores and cause them to become restricted and irritated, and cause your skin produce more clogged pores and breakouts.
Same with dehydrated skin, with the added benefit that it makes your skin look aged like a prune.
Skin that is too oily can get sticky, oxidized and also clog your pores and lead to acne.
So here’s what what you want to do:
Use an Oil to Balance Oil Production
As much as oily people, in particular, don’t want to put more oil on their faces… oils are absolutely the best, most natural, and most nourishing moisturizer for the skin.
After all, healthy skin has a healthy amount of oil. That’s what makes it function properly and look great.
Oil is not the enemy, and the good news it that oil can be used to your advantage to balance everything out and stop those breakouts!
Whether you’re oily or dry, it’s only a matter of choosing the best oil for your skin type.
There is a lot to say on the topic of which oil is best, but to ease you temporarily… hemp seed or jojoba are good for oily skin, argan is a great option for dry.
If your skin is oily, moisturizing with an oil will replace some of your own damaged, oxidized sebum (which may be damaged due to internal factors like hormones or stress or diet, or external things like sunburn, pollution etc) with a healthier, less comedogenic alternative.
This will strengthen the skin barrier function, and better prevent your skin from losing water.
If you moisturize with oil, and in tandem you stop using harsh face washes that strip your skin of water and oil, it will signal to your skin that you already have enough oil.
After your skin has gotten used to this routine, it should stop overproducing oil, and also be way less acne prone.
And obviously if your skin is dry (lacking oil), then adding more oil to find a balance makes perfect sense.
Keeping Water in the Skin
So here’s the trick…
Whether your skin is oily or dry, it can still be dehydrated.
In order for your skin to properly exfoliate itself, it needs water. If the cells are not properly hydrated, they can not push dead skin cells or other junk in the pore up and out.
Instead everything will compact in there, the pore will clog, eventually leading to acne or redness.
It will also accentuate any “fine lines” and accelerate aging.
This is why a strong skin barrier function is important (with the right amount of healthy oil in it), because without it, water in the skin can easily evaporate out.
So what you want to do when you moisturize is introduce water to the skin and let it absorb, and then have the oil lock it in.
My Tips on Properly Moisturizing
- Apply your oil to damp or wet skin. The skin sucks up moisture when you’re in a humid environment, so let your skin soak up the water and then keep it there with the oil. I let my skin air dry after applying.
- You probably only need a couple drops of straight oil for your whole face. You can use more if your skin is quite dry. Either way, the oil should be pretty much completely absorbed within a half hour. If it just sits there on top of your skin forever, you used too much, or it’s not the right oil for your skin type.
- Applying oil at the end of a shower is a very ideal moisturizing time, since a shower is a very humid environment. But remember that long hot showers will suck moisture out of your skin, so turn the temp down and keep your face out of the direct stream.
- If you refuse to be without a super hot shower (I get it), then at least don’t put your face in the stream, and then turn the temp down to luke warm at the end to wash your face
- It can be a challenge to keep your skin hydrated if you live in a very dry climate, or spend your time in dry indoor winter air. If it’s really bad, you might invest in a humidifier.
- For the most part, washing your face with water and not moisturizing after isn’t the best idea especially if you are prone to dry dehydrated skin. Water is very drying on its own, because as it evaporates off your skin, it takes more with it!
- Consider mixing your oil with a humectant like aloe vera gel. Humectants pull moisture into your skin from the surrounding environment.
- Don’t sabotage your moisturizing efforts by using a harsh cleansing face wash that strips your skin of water and oil. There are many options for better alternatives, but an awesome one is smooth raw honey. It’s also a mild humectant!
Along with balancing oil production and locking in moisture, moisturizers are also an ideal vessel for bringing tons of healing ingredients into your skin such as antioxidants and herbal essential oils.
And by making your own, you can pack as much acne healing goodness as you can into one product, without all the junky fillers and chemicals that are typically in formulated skin care products (some of which can definitely sabotage your clear skin efforts).
As I mentioned before, I have been having so much fun messing around with DIY skin care stuff, especially making my perfect moisturizer.
Next week we’ll go over which oils are best for which skin type and how to choose.
And after that, I’ll share with you my acne free moisturizer recipe! The base recipe is incredibly easy to make with minimal ingredients (ie. just two)
From there, you can start experimenting with adding more and more healing ingredients as you wish to make it fully customized!
See you next week!